For non – malayalis (non-keralites) , Vishu might be a new word. So for them, let me explain what Vishu is !
Vishu is a festival celebrated in the southern state of India, Kerala, which is my hometown!
Vishu (Malayalam: Viṣu) is Malayali festival natively celebrated in one of the South Indian state Kerala, coastal Kanyakumari nearby regions and their diaspora communities. … Vishu (from Sanskrit-Malayalam Vishuva) literally means equal, and in the festival context it connotes the completion of spring equinox.
The night before his festival, we arrange a beautiful ‘kani’ with Lord Krishna’s Idol, and fruits and rice and many other food items. Believe me, it’s beautiful!!
I cannot miss out the mirror which is kept among the kani.The mirror when seen on the morning of Vishu signifies Devi, and also the reflection of the things in front of the mirror shows that these would be multiplied by Her Grace. Usually Vishukkani is kept in one’s Pooja room just the night before the Vishu by elders, once the children and youngsters go to sleep.
And another wonderful ritual is that, elders offer money to the young people in the house, the money offered is known as Vishu Kaineettam.
The festival is notable for its solemnity and the general lack of pomp. The festival is marked by family time, preparing colorful auspicious items and viewing these as the first thing on the Vishu day( Vishukkani). In particular, Malayaees seek to view the golden blossoms of the Indian laburnum (Kani Konna), money or silver items , cloth(pattu),mirror, rice and other harvest products .
The day also attracts firework play by children, wearing new clothes (Puthukodi) and the eating a special meal called Sadhya, which is a mix of salty, sweet, sour and bitter items. vishu is celebrated by giving money [vishu kai – neetam] , it is a blessing from the family by exchanging the money.
The Vishu arrangement typically includes an image of Vishnu, typically in the form of Krishna. People also visit temples like Sabarimala Ayyappan Temple or Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple or Kulathupuzha Sree BaalaShastha Temple to have a ‘Vishukkani Kazhcha’ (viewing) in the early hours of the day.
The Malayalam word “kani” literally means “that which is seen first”, so “Vishukkani” means “that which is seen first on Vishu”. The traditional belief is that one’s future is a function of what one experiences, that the new year will be better if one views auspicious joyful things as the first thing on Vishu. Therefore, Malayali Hindu women spend the day before preparing a setting, usually a tray, of auspicious items. This setting is the first thing they see when they wake up on the Vishu day.
The Vishukkani setting consists of items such as rice, golden lemon, golden cucumber, coconut cut open, jack fruit, kanmashi Kajal, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror (Vaalkannadi), golden yellow Konna flowers (Cassia fistula) which bloom in the season of Vishu, holy Hindu texts, coins or currency notes, oil lamp (nilavilakku), and an image of the Hindu god Vishnu. Mirror in Vishukani is a symbol of seeing yourself as a part of abundance you see in the form of Kani.
The tradition has been that one of the members of the house, typically the mom or elderly person lights up the lamps at dawn, then goes to each member of her family one by one, blindfolds and wakes each one up, walks them to the front of the setting. She then releases the blindfold so one can see the setting, and then greets the Vishu day.
And this year, I woke up so early to help my mom, who is so excited about all such events. It’s been so long since I woke up this early. I woke up listening to the wonderful chirping of the birds. It is amazing!!
And due to corona, we couldn’t keep everything as only essentials were available. And it looked like this.
I hope this year will bring prosperity for all my fellow bloggers and friends. I hope everything will come to an end and things would come back to its normal state!
Do check out more about this festival!
Have a good day, my friends!!